The jewelry trade gathers in Mumbai for an upbeat week of shows
In August, the Indian jewelry trade gathered in Mumbai for two events sponsored by the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC): India International Jewellery Week (IIJW) and the India International Jewellery Show (IIJS). IIJW, in its sixth year, showcased the work of 21 Indian jewelry designers plus 32 student-designers, concluding with two truly spectacular fashion shows.
The events were packed, the energy was palpable, and as the lights dimmed, the audiences oohed and ahhed over the models, making one thing clear: This is a country that loves jewelry.
IIJS, in its 32nd year, proved the same point a few days later with record attendance and strong sales, despite a cautious opening. The GJEPC says attendance at the show, which caters to the domestic Indian market, was up 10 to 15 percent, and gold jewelry reportedly sold out within the first days of the show.
“We were positive going into it, but we never expected this kind of response,” GJEPC chair Vipul Shah tells JCK. “Gold is at an affordable price and the festival season is coming up, so we are looking to have a good quarter. The market is going in the right direction.”
Anil Bharwani, the Mumbai-based owner of an eponymous jewelry line featuring traditional designs alongside playful and creative animal jewels, said sales were down compared with last year but that his lower price points—approximately $1,500—were doing well. The best sellers? Styles featuring peacocks, the national bird of India.
Colin Shah, managing director of jewelry manufacturer Kama Schachter, which does half of its business in India and the other half in the United States, was having a great show. “Indians love jewelry,” he said. “Women here are excited to spend money on fashion jewelry in a way they just aren’t in the U.S.”
Diamond sellers, however, saw slower business than gold and jewelry sellers, given the global slowdown in the rough and polished markets. Still, a sense of optimism prevailed. “We’ve had a lot of inquiries at this show, but so far less business than we were hoping,” said Kalpesh Vaghani, director of Kapu Gems. “But we’ll see how it goes in the end.”
(Photos: Jewel-spotting at the fabulous fashion parade that is IIJW: models at the Shobha Shringar show and the Jaipur Association Show)